2010 winners Spain are one of the two big teams in Group E who are expected to qualify for the knockout stages of the tournament. Their win over the Netherlands in the final in South Africa 12 years ago is La Roja’s only success in football’s biggest tournament, and since being reappointed national team manager three years ago, Luis Enrique will be looking to take his side far in the tournament after uncharacteristically poor showings in both 2014 and 2018.
With a deadline of November 13th to submit final squads, Spain haven’t submitted theirs yet, but there are some players who we will definitely see in Qatar. The likes of Pedri, Gavi, Cesar Azpilicueta, Sergio Busquets, Alvaro Morata, Thiago and Ferran Torres are the men that can expect to start every game, but Enrique will also have some selection headaches – such as whether to take players such as Aymeric Laporte, Mikel Oyarzabal, Brahim Diaz, Rodrigo and Koke.
Enrique will also have to decide whether or not he will take an ageing Sergio Ramos, as well as facing a tough choice in who will be his starting goalkeeper out of Unai Simon or Robert Sanchez.
Spain finished top of Group B in World Cup qualifying, picking up 19 points as they won six out of their eight matches. What will worry Enrique is that despite the fact Spain came up against the likes of Kosovo, Georgia and Greece, the Spaniards never looked convincing, often winning marginally by one or two goals. Ferran Torres managed to get four of Spain’s 15 qualifying goals, with Morata, Pablo Sarabia, Dani Olmo and Carlos Soler all chipping in with two each.
Under the stewardship of an experienced manager like Luis Enrique, Spain could go far in this tournament, but because their squad is not of the highest quality in comparison to other large nations, it will prove difficult for them to make it as far as the final. Spain are currently priced at 10/11 to win the group, and at 8/1 to win the entire tournament.